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Game of Kings, The by Dorothy Dunnett

Game of Kings, The (1961)

by Dorothy Dunnett

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Title:Game of Kings, The
Authors:Dorothy Dunnett
Info:Arrow, Paperback, 640 pages
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The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett (1961)


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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
The time is the 16th century; the place is Scotland. The young Queen, Mary Queen of Scots, is under the protection of her mother, Mary of Guise. England is plotting to marry Mary off to the king's son and thus secure Scotland for England, while France is hoping to bolster the Auld Alliance. In this context we have Francis Crawford of Lymond, the spare to the title of Lord Culter and pronounced outlaw for allegations of treason. Over the course of this book the reader must grapple with the question of whether Lymond, as he is known, is actually as bad as people say he is... or better... or worse.

This is a very meaty book. Dunnett packs it, Christmas pudding-like, with elegant turns of phrase, humourous narration, allusions, and poetry in several languages. A companion book to the series explains the references, but the casual reader can very easily just smile and nod. The most difficult part of reading this may be keeping track of all of the characters; fortunately, there is a list provided of the major players, and if the reader spends extended periods of time with the book, it's much easier to follow along.

The book also contains great roles for women: Sybilla, Mariotta, Christian Stewart, Philippa Somerville, and Janet Beaton are some of the many who get excellent lines and advance the plot in their own way.

Overall, I found this more enjoyable when I read it for long periods uninterrupted and could get into the flow of the story. I'd like to fill in the gaps of my historical knowledge as best I can. In the meantime, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the other installments of the series. ( )
  rabbitprincess | Oct 11, 2016 |
Dorothy Dunnett is well-known in historical fiction circles for her well-written historical fiction. In [The Game of Kings] she has taken the backdrop of 16th century Scotland and created a fictional hero, Francis Crawford of Lymond. Lymond is a fantastic, complex character - it's hard to tell even half way through the book if he's good or bad at heart. The women in the book are great - good character development and clever dialogue. There is a ton of action that is really well written. You can see the fighting as you read. She also manages to write some really funny scenes.

So, lots of great parts, but for me it didn't quite add up to the standard of Sharon Kay Penman or Margaret George. There was just a bit too much reliance on action scenes and I thought the plot was a bit unnecessarily convoluted.

I can see why people love these books, and by the end I sort of wanted to read the next in the series even with my misgivings. We'll see, maybe I'll give another one a try sometime but I'm not planning on it right now. ( )
1 vote japaul22 | Sep 20, 2016 |
My first foray into the magical world of Dorothy Dunnett. I found a tough go at first (even, for the first few nights, a book sure to send me to sleep after just a couple pages), but once I got into the rhythm of the thing, I was off and running. Not the sort of book you can read without giving it your full attention, since it's full of intricate plot threads that are easily lost and hard to locate again, but full of great historical detail, rich wordplay, and moments of pure comic genius. ( )
  JBD1 | Aug 20, 2016 |
It's very difficult to review a book that has been a favourite for nearly thirty years... but this is one masterpiece of swashbuckling, romantic and serious literary history. Lymond is without a doubt the hero of all heroes, clever, complex, witty, athletic, sarcastic (oh, how!) and high minded. Even after multiple re-reads, there's always something, some turn of phrase that springs to the fore and delights. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Magnifique! Once I got inside the rhythm and intent of the tale I was riveted. Dunnett wanted to create the consummate romantic hero, as I understand it, and in Crawford of Lymond she has succeeded. With a masterfully twisty plot, she never lets up on wit or character development and can handle a swordfight as well as an excruciating courtroom scene. The [Lymond Chronicles] were written between 1961 and 1975 and they are not one whit dated. Most remarkably the women characters are unfailingly as varied, memorable, and fully involved as any of the men. If you like your history served up with swashbuckle and wit, and a dash of mystery, you will be enthralled. The narrator, Napier, took a little getting used to at first with his sometimes drawly accent and a habit of dropping downwards at the end of a sentence but around the same time I warmed utterly to the story, I began to think he was just the right choice. *****

If you do listen, what sounds like the name "McClue" is "Buccleuch". It's really a sort of hard M with aa hint of B in it. I never had a "ccleuch" before how to pronounce it! ( )
  sibyx | Apr 17, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dorothy Dunnettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gillies, SamuelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679777431, Paperback)

Praised for her historical fiction by critics and devoted fans alike, author Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles took the romance world by storm some 30 years ago, firmly fixing Dunnett's reputation as a master of the historical romance. The Game of Kings, the first story in The Lymond Chronicles, sets the stage for what will be a sweeping saga filled with passion, courage, and the endless fight for freedom. The setting is 1547, in Edinborough, Scotland. Francis Crawford of Lymond returns to the country despite the charge of treason hanging over his head. Set on redeeming his reputation, He leads a company of outlaws against England as he fights for the country he loves so dearly. Dangerous, quick-witted, and utterly irresistible, Lymond is pure pleasure to watch as he traverses 16th-century Scotland in search of freedom. The Game of Kings is a must-have for the historical romance connoisseur.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:26 -0400)

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Francis Crawford of Lymond, a notorious outlaw, returns to Scotland in 1547. He announces his arrival by setting fire to his estranged brother's castle. He then turns his attention to breaching Edinburgh's gates, which have been sealed to keep out British invaders.… (more)

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